It’s been the dream (or fantasy) of Spiersy and his shifting management team to climb clear of the bottom of the assorted university league tables, especially the Guardian table, perhaps with a leg-up from the Head of Planning & Chief Dodgy Statistician, Matt Hiely-Remunerated. But reaching the top has been a forlorn hope, until now. Unfortunately the table in question is none of these, nor that of the world’s best (most self-regarding?) institutions; no, it’s the list of the biggest financial deficits in HE.
The Times Higher has published figures that place Kingston ahead of the country with a deficit of 14.2 million pounds, although we slip to fourth place relative to income (-7.1%). These upper echelons are populated with notables such as London Metropolitan and Bolton, home of Bentley-driving, 30%-pay-rise VC, George Holmes, the narcissist of Lincolnshire. Not quite Russell Group territory. Don’t expect to see a trumpet parade on Staffspace over this one.
Back in the days of Peter Scott, which seem an awfully long time ago, Kingston University ran a surplus. Then along came Julius ‘The Rat’ Weinberg who slagged off his predecessor for hoarding too much cash and promptly set about spending it, some on his own salary, a bigger wad on the new Town House. Combined with sinking student applications, the actions of ambitious Ratty, who buggered off while the going was good, has put KU in the red.
Kingston has put up with crap buildings at its main site for years now, so shelling out on something better is no bad thing, provided there are students around to fill it once finished. And all kinds of outfits run deficits without problems, at least for a while. Our position, however, is not too comfortable with falling enrolments and stumbling management. Still, cheer up Spiersy. This is Kingston’s best league table performance since it came second in the bullying vote.